Skip Navigation

Aurélie Vialette


Associate Professor
Affiliated, Department of History.
Office: Humanities Building 1141

View CV

I specialize in 19th-century Iberian cultural studies: carceral studies, disability studies, transatlantic studies, slavery networks, Filipino studies, popular music, journalistic discourse, archival studies, mass and working-class organizations, Catalan Studies.


In my first book,  Intellectual Philanthropy: the Seduction of the Masses  (Purdue University Press, 2018, Recipient of the North American Catalan Society Prize for Outstanding Work in the Field of Catalan Studies, 2019). This book challenges the conventional cultural and intellectual history of the relationship between bourgeois intellectuals and the working class in modern Iberia by analyzing philanthropic projects addressed to industrial workers. Philanthropy, in the nineteenth century, was not necessarily linked to money. Motivations could be moral or political; they could arise from a desire to enhance social status or to acquire a specific influence. To explicitly designate this inclusive conceptualization of the philanthropic act, I propose its own name: intellectual philanthropy.

Fields: social movements, ethnomusicology, crowd theory, archive theory, history of the book.

Vialette book cover 1

The Colonial Laboratory: Race, Gender, and Penal Colonies in the Philippines in the 19th Century. Cornell UP. (proposal accepted)

This book delves into the racial, ethical, political, and social issues involved in the penal colonization process in the Philippines. The Filipino archival documents show that overseas incarceration was a method for the Spanish Empire to get rid of criminals, the poor, prostitutes, and vagrants. In the Philippines, it also dispossessed indigenous people of their land. I argue that labor and procreation were crucial to the project of using Spanish prisoners to build the colonial structure and strengthen the Spanish presence in the archipelago. I demonstrate the centrality of a transnational and transhistorical approach to understanding the contemporary treatment of imprisoned people. This research addresses unresolved questions of prison labor, race politics through imprisonment, and the importance of heteropatriarchy, linked to gender violence, in the prison system.

Fields: Law and the humanities, Philippines study, indigenous study, penal reform, gender study.

Edited Books

Dissonances of Modernity: Music in the Literature of Modern and Contemporary Spain, co-edited with Irene Gómez-Castellano is titled Dissonances of Modernity: Music, Text and Performance in Modern Spain. UNC Press, 2021. 

Dissonances of Modernity illuminates the ways in which music, as an artifact, a practice, and a discourse redefines established political, social, gender, and cultural conventions in Modern Spain. The volume’s historical horizon reaches from the nineteenth-century War of Africa to the Catalan working class revolutions and Enric Granados’ central role in Catalan identity; from Francisco Barbieri’s Madrid to the Wagnerian’s influence in Benito Pérez Galdós’ prose; and from the predicaments surrounding national anthems to the use of the figure of Carmen in Francoist’ cinema.

Vialette bookcover 2

Cultural Legacies of Slavery in Modern Spain (19th-21st Centuries), co-edited with Akiko Tsuchiya. SUNY Press. (under contract)

This book addresses the question of how modern Spanish cultural productions and institutions reflect and shape ways of understanding the history of a nation sustained on colonialism and slavery. Our objective is to scrutinize the ways in which representations of the public memory of slavery. The three parts of this anthology center on different cultural manifestations of the legacies of slavery in the Spanish state: 1) in archives and museums; 2) in recent cultural initiatives and activism that seek to transform colonial memory sites into spaces for critical reflection on the past; 3) in various forms of cultural production, such as literature, music, and visual culture.

 Global Prison Writing. (book proposal to be sent to California UP)

This book is an entry point to consider prison writing theoretically, politically, socially, and aesthetically in a global context. I argue that for those who have never experienced incarceration, prison can only be known through a specific art form: storytelling. It is organized into four main conceptual clusters, representing four key experiences of jailed writers throughout time and space, in which aesthetics is always a critical point of entry: Breaking Silence, Revolution, Suffering, and Human Rights.

Guest editor

Disability Studies and Iberian Studies. Special Issue for Hispanic Review. (in progress)

The aim of this special issue is to bring to the forefront the importance of critical disability and disabled people in Iberian Culture. It focuses on disability, from a theoretical and historical point of view. It aims to contribute to the expansion of Critical Disability as a mode of inquiry in the field of modern and contemporary Iberian studies (including the Iberian Peninsula and its trans-Pacific, trans-Atlantic dimension).

Digital Humanities Projects

Director. An edition of nineteenth-century composer and politician Josep Anselm Clavé’s (1824-1874) archive. International project involving graduate students and faculty members from Stony Brook University and the Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya (Spain). Co-directed with Anna Costal i Fornells (ESMUC). Launched Fall 2022.

Mapping the Legacies of Slavery. VIP Team (Vertically Integrated Projects Program). This project brings together humanists and computer scientists in a Digital Humanities project that traces the legacies of slavery in our contemporary world. 

Finally, I am also interested and have published on the journalistic networks by women writers between Mexico and Spain in the second half of the nineteenth-century.

I am the managing editor of Catalan Review (NACS).

Courses taught at Stony Brook

  • “Disabled Bodies, National Politics” (MA)
  • “Protest and Disobedience” (Graduate Seminar)
  • “Women Writers in the Hispanic World” (Undergraduate)
  • “Inventing the carceral system: crime, politics and the remnants of Empire” (Graduate Seminar)
  • “Fluid Borders – Iberian Nations” (Undergraduate)
  • “Art and Resistance in Times of Uprising (1868-2012)” (Graduate Seminar)
  • “Nationalisms in Spain: Basque Country, Catalonia and Galicia” (Humanities –in English)
  • “Civilization of Spain” (Undergraduate)
  • “The Nation and its Spaniards Discontents” (MA Seminar)
  • “Politics of Crime: the Carcelar System in the Iberian Peninsula”(Undergraduate)